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Disturbing facts about organic food

Organic farming could be worse for the climate than conventional farming methods, one of the UK’s government scientific advisers has said, because of the greater land use required and the methods used.

Lord Krebs, who advises ministers on how to adapt to climate change, told the Oxford Farming Conference that organic farming did not necessarily mean more environmentally friendly farming.

Krebs also argued that organic farming needs more land than technological methods to produce the same yield, which could be an increasing problem as the world’s population is projected to grow from more than 7 billion people today to 9 to 12 billion by mid-century, requiring a correspondingly large rise in agricultural productivity.

Krebs, formerly the first chief executive of the UK’s Food Standards Agency from 2000 to 2005, said in 2000 organic vegetableswere no more nutritious than those produced from other agricultural methods. He told the BBC in that year that people who bought organic food were “not getting value for money, in my opinion and in the opinion of the Food Standards Agency, if they think they’re buying food with extra nutritional quality or extra safety. We don’t have the evidence to support those claims.”

He also told the conference on Wednesday that the UK’s soils could not be relied upon to continue to produce food at current levels in future decades, as they are likely to become much more eroded by rain and wind in future. Floods and droughts are both likely to become more common across Britain in a future of global warming, he noted.

If organic food is worse for the environment and uses unregulated pesticide spraying, is it safe to buy?

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